Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-12-2018, 09:26 AM   #21
RyanW
 
RyanW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Southeast NC
Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by maximara View Post
While ships were slower they could carry far more cargo. In fact even though airplanes are faster ships are still the go to for long distance cargo transport even in our modern day.
Aircraft are pretty much express cargo delivery (think mail, not materials). Interestingly, transoceanic passenger air service began largely to milk a little more money and prestige out of lucrative mail routes.
__________________
RyanW
If H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide, is H2O two hydrogens peroxide?
RyanW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2018, 10:11 AM   #22
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
A large source of helium discovered in Europe.

Early discovery of aluminum, titanium, Kevlar and Nomex.
Helium instead of hydrogen cuts payload quite a bit. Hindenburg's engineers were actually sort of glad when they didn't have to use helium. It would ahve taken a big bite out of the passengers and cargo.

All of the advanced materials you mention benefit airplanes just as much as dirigibles. You need a scenario where airships aren't competing v. airplanes.
__________________
Fred Brackin
Fred Brackin is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2018, 10:20 AM   #23
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Helium instead of hydrogen cuts payload quite a bit. Hindenburg's engineers were actually sort of glad when they didn't have to use helium. It would ahve taken a big bite out of the passengers and cargo.

All of the advanced materials you mention benefit airplanes just as much as dirigibles. You need a scenario where airships aren't competing v. airplanes.
Uh-hunh. Retard or avoid discovery of the Bernoulli Principle, or retard the development of lightweight engines suitable for propelling a plane as in a steampunk setting.
David Johnston2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2018, 11:07 AM   #24
khorboth
 
khorboth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Denver, CO
Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

I see a lot of "how" but not much "why"

What if in the 1760's, the British Empire decided that the colonies should have more rail lines?

- They seized all the land they would need to lay out a well-designed, efficient system. Then... That's a huge building project, it moves very slowly.

- In the U.S. revolution, an additional rallying cry is "My Land, My Life, My Liberty" as landowners are understandably bitter by having their land seized by the empire and then left alone for years.

- The Third Amendment is extended to include provisions forcing the government to pay 10x the market rate for any property seized through eminent domain.

- Without this tool to build out the railway system, U.S. engineers look to the sky. Principles behind hot-air balloons have been known for centuries, and production of lighter-than-air gasses can then accelerate along any of the above lines.

- Worldwide, rail and major road construction gains a flavor of "imperialism" which is reinforced during WW2 when the Nazi forces use them to great effect. Now anybody who wants to use ground-based mass transit is a fascist.

Other thoughts:

Consider an infrastructure of "tracks" through bad weather areas where airships can hook onto a monorail and have a solid anchor to keep the traffic flowing.

Perhaps carriages will be transferred between balloons more suitable for various terrain. one carriage will be moved to a "mountain rig" good for high altitudes to get over the Rockies, then with a stopover in Denver it is switched to a "distance rig" for the plains to make better time. Then anther "mountain rig" for the trip to New York. Perhaps then a "ocean rig" for endurance will complete a trip to Paris. Then carriages can go 'round the world. I'm not sure this is practical for commercial travel, but rich folk will probably have their own carriage just like they once had train cars.
khorboth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2018, 12:41 PM   #25
evileeyore
 
evileeyore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: 100 hurricane swamp
Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by khorboth View Post
- Worldwide, rail and major road construction gains a flavor of "imperialism" which is reinforced during WW2 when the Nazi forces use them to great effect. Now anybody who wants to use ground-based mass transit is a fascist.
Bonus points if the phrase "made the trains run on time" impugns not just the leader, but the system being metaphorically discussed (since trains themselves are fascist).
__________________
Feel free to steal, borrow, fold, spindle, mutilate any rule, advantage, etc I come up with it.
evileeyore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2018, 01:28 PM   #26
phayman53
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

This does not work for piston engines, but one of the difficulties of making jet engines is the material for the turbine blades. They have to be extremely heat resistant because they are turned by the hot exhaust. You could have a world where highly heat resistant metals and alloys suitable for turbine blades are not available or invented. If that is the case, jets would be much harder to invent and much less efficient. In this case you could argue that extremely long range aircraft or heavy lift aircraft would be replaced by dirigibles. If you push this far enough, you could even claim that piston engines cannot be as powerful because of the lack of heat resistant metals, making heavy-lift prop aircraft impossible.
phayman53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2018, 01:57 PM   #27
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phayman53 View Post
If you push this far enough, you could even claim that piston engines cannot be as powerful because of the lack of heat resistant metals, making heavy-lift prop aircraft impossible.
The difficulty with this is that airships also require powerful and lightweight engines. The Hindenburg had four lightweight diesels, of 1,200HP each, more powerful than most aircraft engines of the period.
johndallman is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2018, 02:31 PM   #28
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

An alternative design would be to have dirigibles being the product of alien biological science. Perhaps aliens arrived millions of years ago and, after a failed colonization effort, left behind biological dirigibles. Every spring, they migrated from the tropics to the Arctic to take advantage of the long arctic summer. Every fall, they migrated from the Arctic to the tropics to winter away in the tropics. There could even be distinct populations for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres in the Americas (I choose the Americas to minimize historical divergence).

The biological dirigibles would be the products of alien genetic engineering of Earth life and are mobile plant-animal hybrids that use photosynthesis to extract hydrogen from water for floatation, use natural sails for propulsion, and use tentecles to browse the tree tops and fish for sustenance. They would breed with sexual reproduction before planting the resulting seeds in the tropical earth.

In order to make them more useful, the aliens would have given them equivalent intelligence to herbivores so the aliens could domesticate them, a trait which early Native Americans would have learned to exploit. Tribes would ride their domesticated biological dirigibles and use them for trade and war. Now, imagine a world where Europeans encounter Native Americans that have domesticated the biological dirigibles and ride them from the tropics to the Arctic (or Antarctic for the Southern Native Americans).

How would the Europeans have fared against aerial opponents? How long would it take the Europeans to steal the seeds and plant them in tropical Africa or tropical Asia to help them with colonization and trade? What impact would they have had on modern history?
AlexanderHowl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2018, 02:40 PM   #29
phayman53
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
The difficulty with this is that airships also require powerful and lightweight engines. The Hindenburg had four lightweight diesels, of 1,200HP each, more powerful than most aircraft engines of the period.
Shhhhhh, don't tell the players that, maybe they won't find out... :-)

That is a good point, I did not know that about airship engines. I assumed that you could get away with more, less powerful engines because the airship was kept aloft by gas. Hmmm, I wonder if there is a way around this problem to still make large piston aircraft unviable or at least less desirable?
phayman53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2018, 03:09 PM   #30
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Why Dirigibles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phayman53 View Post
That is a good point, I did not know that about airship engines. I assumed that you could get away with more, less powerful engines because the airship was kept aloft by gas.
Airships have lots of drag. They also need to be able to sustain reasonably high airspeeds, 100mph or so, as otherwise winds have an annoying tendency to prevent them reaching their destinations. Using aerodynamic lift as well as buoyancy is also a useful tool in piloting them, given that gas and ballast are very finite resources.
johndallman is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
airship

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:03 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.